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Quarry's Choice

I love these hard case crime books, they're always so much fun. Max Allan Collins' hitman, Quarry, is back. The Broker has lent Quarry out to a man in Biloxi, part of the Dixie Mafia. One of the head guys wants one of the other head guys taken out, and Quarry has been chosen to get close to Killan and remove him, which he does. It was fun and gritty and sleazy and highly entertaining.

I love Agatha Christie, I read them all as a teenager, and I was pretty excited when I heard Sophie Hannah was publishing a new Hercule Poirot story in the same vane as Christie's. "The Monogram Murders" was pretty good, and it did remind me of Christie in the same sense that I had no idea what the heck was going on, even at the end, when Poirot explained it all, I was left scratching my head, wondering what I'd missed. Again, typical, I love reading mysteries but damn if I can make heads or tails out of most of them.

I reread "The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner for the umpteenth time. I do love this book, so much. There is absolutely nothing I could say about it that hasn't been said a million times before. It's one of my go to books when I need to read something brilliant.

I started watching "Justified", and saw it was based on the short story/novella "Fire in the Hole" by Elmore Leonard. The story first appeared in this collection of short stories by him, "When the Women Come Out to Dance". "Fire in the Hole" was by far the best story in the collection, but I'm glad they didn't kill Boyd Crowder on the show because then I would have been deprived of enjoying the amazing Walton Goggins as Boyd in later episodes. The rest of the stories in this collection were actually pretty good, too, and I'm not a big short story person.

Since I read "Raylan", and "Pronto", and "Fire in the Hole", I finished up the last Raylan book by Leonard, "Riding the Rap". Before I read it I didn't realize that was the last of the Raylan books, I had thought there would be quite a few, and I was so sad to discover Leonard didn't write more. "Riding the Rap" was really good though: Harry, the bookie from "Pronto", is kidnapped by a bunch of knuckleheads who don't really know what they're doing. Luckily Raylan does and he's able to rescue him.

Ah, V. C. Andrews (or whoever is ghostwriting for her these days) is one of my guiltiest guilty pleasures. I stopped reading the stuff the ghostwriter churned out after the Ruby series, but this new series is about the original and great "Flowers in the Attic", so it got my attention. The writing is godawful terrible, and most of it is rechurned stuff from "FITA", but I'm still reading it anyway. Kristin's boyfriend, Kane, discovers Christopher's diary that Kristin has been hiding and wants to finish reading it with her. Up in Kristin's attic. While he wears a blond wig. And asks her to call him "Christopher". Kristin finds none of this odd (hmm...) and they proceed to finish reading the diary. All stuff we know from the original book, only at the end Kristin and Kane figure out that the mysterious wealthy investor rebuilding Foxworth Hall is a wheelchair bound man named William Anderson, and they take the diary to him. He turns out to be---CORY!! Cory didn't die from pneumonia after all, Corrine just dropped him off at the Emergency room and took off, and luckily he was saved. Wow, didn't see that coming.

Carl Hiaasen's always good for some dark humor, and "Skin Tight" was pretty hilarious. Retired PI Mick Stranahan is minding his own business, living out in Biscayne Bay, when a hit man tries to off him. He figures out Dr. Rudy Graveline, a butcher posing as a plastic surgeon, is trying to kill him before he figures out what really happened to Victoria Barletta, a girl he killed during a nose job a few years earlier. Mick doesn't give up easily, and Graveline finds a real nutjob of a killer to go after him. It was really good.

Andy Miller's "The Year of Reading Dangerously" was fun, it made me laugh out loud. Miller was always a big reader, but after having a child he found he was reading less and less for the pure pleasure of it. He decided to spend a year reading some books he'd always meant to, books he had often lied about reading. He chose some interesting ones, that's for sure. Some are on my permanent "to read" list. One day I'll get to it :)

I'm a big fan of the show "Sons of Anarchy" (although the series finale--yeesh). I wasn't expecting much, these books written about TV shows or movies are rarely terribly good. It wasn't bad. Trinity, Jax's half-sister has gotten involved in a Russian Bratva, or brotherhood. Maureen calls from Ireland to ask Jax to send her home, so he goes off to Nevada to look for him. Oleg, the Russian guy, is involved in a gun running scheme and there's all sorts of shoot outs and other nastiness.

Grame Simsion's "The Rosie Project" was such an adorable book, I couldn't wait to read the sequel, "The Rosie Effect". Rosie and Don are living in New York, Don is teaching at Columbia and Rosie is getting her MD and PhD there, when she learns she is pregnant. Through a series of hilarious misunderstandings due to Don's lack of understanding social cues, Rosie determines Don is not going to be a good father and decides to move back to Australia. Don doesn't want her to go, but he agrees with her that he probably wouldn't be a great dad. Luckily they have a good group of friends who are able to make them both realize just how good Don will be as a dad, and that they belong together. It was very sweet.

I'm not a big fan of short stories, but I do love Joyce Carol Oates, and this collection of stories was quite good. The last one, "Patricide", was almost a novella and really stood out as one of the best stories in the book. They were all pretty good though.

After reading "Raylan" by Elmore Leonard I was eager for more Raylan stories, so I read "Pronto", which is the first book featuring US Marshal Givens. Harry runs a successful sports book in South Miami for Jimmy Cap and he's being set up to take a fall, Jimmy's been told Harry's been skimming. Harry kills a guy Jimmy sends after him and takes off for Italy while under Raylan's protection. This is the second time Harry's run off and made Raylan look the fool, and Raylan isn't too pleased about it, so he goes off to Italy to bring him back. Lots of black humor and Southern charm, I enjoyed it.

The residents of Woodbury are still picking up the pieces after the Governor's betrayal, and Lilly Caul is their defacto leader. They go on a dangerous rescue mission to save some survivors trapped in a church, and bring them back to Woodbury. Their leader, a preacher named Jeremiah, is charismatic and charming. Everyone likes him except for Bob, who takes it upon himself to do some detective work and discovers Jeremiah is planning to murder the whole town Jerry Jones style. The residents manage for the most part to survive, but not before Jeremiah and his crazy crew blow up the wall, and the walkers take over Woodbury. Now they'll have to find somewhere else to go...

"I'm With the Band" by Pamela Des Barres is the story of a young girl in the heyday of rock n' roll. Pamela was the ultimate groupie who got in to see every big band and slept with most everyone she could, from Jimmy Page to Mick Jagger and on and on. It sounds like she had more fun than any one person should be allowed to, but hey, good on her. It was an interesting look at how it used to be. She got to be onstage with some of the hugest bands in the world, very lucky girl. And she lived to tell about it, even luckier.


I've never actually seen the TV show "Justified", although it looks pretty good, I'm sure I'll end up watching it eventually. I read "Raylan" by Elmore Leonard, and I really enjoyed the character of Raylan Givens, a U.S. Marshal who seems to always get his man, or in the case of this book, woman. It started out with a disgruntled transplant nurse taking kidneys from unsuspecting victims and ended with a poker playing college girl named Jackie Nevada. It was fun and a quick read.

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